Technology constraints have increasingly led to the adoption of specialized coprocessors, i.e. hardware accelerators. The first challenge that computer architects encounter is identifying “what to specialize in the program”. We demonstrate that this requires precise enumeration of program paths based on dynamic program behavior. We hypothesize that path-based accelerator offloading leads to good coverage of dynamic instructions and improve energy efficiency. Unfortunately, hot paths across programs demonstrate diverse control flow behavior. Accelerators (typically based on dataflow execution), often lack an energy-efficient, complexity effective, and high performance (eg. branch prediction) support for control flow.
We have developed NEEDLE, an LLVM based compiler framework that leverages dynamic profile information to identify, merge, and offload acceleratable paths from whole applications. NEEDLE derives insight into what code coverage (and consequently energy reduction) an accelerator can achieve. We also develop a novel program abstraction for offload called Braid that merges common code regions across different paths to improve coverage of the accelerator while trading off the increase in dataflow size. This enables coarse grained offloading, reducing interaction with the host CPU core. To prepare the Braids and paths for acceleration, NEEDLE generates software frames. Software frames enable energy efficient speculative execution on accelerators. They are accelerator microarchitecture independent support speculative execution including memory operations. NEEDLE is automated and has been used to analyze 225K paths across 29 workloads. It filtered and ranked 154K paths for acceleration across unmodified SPEC, PARSEC and PERFECT workload suites. We target NEEDLE's offload regions toward a CGRA and demonstrate 34% performance and 20% energy improvement.